Park University student developing Google Glass app for firefighters

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PARKVILLE, Mo. --A student at Park University says he has a vision.

His goal is to use computer technology, including Google Glass, to make it easier to see at emergency scenes.

It's a chance to change the way EMS workers see through obstacles, such as fire, smoke and chaos. Park University senior Robert Van Eman is a computer science major, working to use Google Glass to help first responders see more accurately.

Van Eman calls it an 'augmented reality' he envisions for firefighters. He's a veteran who understands how hard it is for first responders to see inside a burning building.

"We apply a filter to it, and that filter can weed out the smoke so the firefighter can see more clearly," Van Eman explained.

Van Eman says the big key is Google Glass. The eyewear is lightweight and portable, and the user gets information through the tiny screen on the lens.

"If you need your hands to break through a door or carry victims, the biggest advantage is you can talk to the glass, and tell it what you want, and it will do it for you," Van Eman said.

That includes asking if there are people in the smoky room who need to be rescued.

Van Eman foresees it making work simpler for firefighters, and in turn saving lives. So does Dr. Emily Donelli-Sallee, the interim dean of Park's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

"(Robert is) generating knowledge that not only advances the discipline of computer science, but also has a direct benefit to the community," Donelli-Sallee said.

Van Eman hopes to have the application ready in the next six months.

Once this version of the software is developed, Van Eman says he could foresee updates that would be applicable to police work, giving officers urgent information during community emergencies and traffic stops.

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